Editor’s Note: Today’s post is a guest post from Jordan Viator Slabaugh, Director of Social Media at Spredfast, a social media management solution provider and SME client.

The concept of social business is quickly becoming a reality for companies. And a number of advantages come with adopting social media as a company. Your entire organization can share the responsibility of communicating on behalf of your company – beyond just marketing.

Customers, prospects and industry pros now expect to be able to connect with your brand. And if you’re not yet thinking about how to roll out social across all teams in 2012, there are a few things you can start thinking about, and planning, now to help you on this path.

Buy-in at the corporate level

Adopting social media across the entire enterprise isn’t something that can be achieved without stakeholder buy-in. This ranges from having sign off from the executive team to having a conversation and agreement with management from the various internal departments who need to agree on the value of social for their specific business needs.

A few ways to start thinking about this include:

  • Illustrating competitors who are utilizing social successfully.
  • Emphasizing how social media can be used for areas outside of communication, like recruiting, finding new prospects, keeping customers happy and informed and sharing product insights and knowledge.
  • Monitoring social media activity for your brand and highlighting missed opportunities for engagement today.
  • Creating conversations to drive thought leadership in your industry.

Properly organizing teams

A huge challenge for companies is figuring out how to organize activity when it moves beyond one team or individual. More people often equates to more chaos in the minds of department leaders. By thinking about this in an organized way, this chaos can be turned into coordination.

  • Decide which departments will be active in social media and who can serve as the “lead” in helping to manage and triage social media activity.
  • Determine the employees who will be expected to engage regularly, identifying the level at which these employees should be active.
  • Identify the goals of each team and make these success milestones part of their ongoing performance metrics.
  • Outline the levels of communication that need to take place across social activity and create a plan for engagement and response.

Providing Proper Training

The etiquette and proper ways to engage in social can change over time. Equipping your teams with ongoing guidance on how to use different channels, the best ways to engage and any insights on best behaviors can help enable better activity that behooves both your company and your networks.

Decide what your company feels are the best ways to communicate in social media as a brand and individuals representing it. Equip internal people active on your channels with the proper ways to talk and respond, as well as the expectations and preferences of your online networks.

Also connect the dots on how to use social to further business goals and objectives. The way your market development team utilizes social will be different than your customer care team. This communication should connect to the roles and goals they have as employees and will help further business goals, as well as ensure the various teams participating in social are communicating on the appropriate networks effectively.

Provide Ongoing Guidance

If you’re already using social as a Marketing channel, you know that guidance and ongoing enablement is needed for the team. This is even more true as social becomes more wide spread across the company. Consider how ongoing guidance can be provided in a way that helps the overall company, individual employees and ensures your networks’ needs are being met. This may include:

  • Curriculum and ongoing training on the best ways to engage in social channels.
  • A communication plan to aggregate and share external resources like industry conferences, third party webinars and industry articles to share social media knowledge.

Corporate-wide social media adoption may add complexities to your communication plan but doesn’t have to be scary. With proper planning, organization and guidance, it can help companies of all shapes and sizes further their business goals and provide better service and experiences to their networks – especially as social becomes a more ubiquitous part of all our lives.

Happy 2012 social planning!

Jordan Viator Slabaugh of SpredfastJordan Viator Slabaugh is the Director of Social Media at Spredfast, a social media management system for enterprise companies and agencies.  She leads the company’s Marketing and social media strategy, as well as consults with clients on using social media to help achieve social business goals. She tweets at @jordanv and writes about social business best practices and trends on the Spredfast Social Business blog. 

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About Jason Falls

Jason Falls

Jason Falls is the founder and chief instigator for Social Media Explorer's blog. He is a leading thinker, speaker and strategist in the world of digital marketing and is co-author of two books, No Bullshit Social Media: The All-Business, No-Hype Guide To Social Media Marketing and The Rebel's Guide To Email Marketing. By day, he leads digital strategy for CafePress, one of the world's largest online retailers. His opinions are his, not necessarily theirs. Follow him on Twitter (@JasonFalls).

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